I’m investigating a few automata options this weekend. It’s a matter of understanding simple gearing ratios and working out how dramatically this may affect any object which forms the automaton itself.
Getting the engineering sorted is one thing but deciding on the artform which it will power is something else. I keep wanting to return to some ideas on dolls which I explored a few years ago. The idea of automata with inanimate objects plays with Jentsch’s notion of casting “doubt as to whether an apparently animate object is really alive and, conversely, whether a lifeless object might not perhaps be animate.” The emergence of motion from lifeless parts casts that doubt.
I’ve also been considering Michael Crichton’s Westworld but not from a robotics perspective. Similarly I’m thinking about Olympia from E.T.A Hoffmann’s Der Sandmann. I’m fascinated by an animate/inanimate dichotomy drawing on uncanny themes, questioning ideas on unreality and perceived sentience. I wrote all about such things for my dissertation in 2010. Back to thoughts on Freud, Hitchcock, and all that jazz I suppose.